Photo
Tiit Veermäe
Before After

Tall Hermann

I am a flag tower – the most important in the city – standing high above all the rest. Including my base, I am over 80 metres high and more than 90 metres above sea level. There are none like me nearby, and none farther away either, I hope.

My name means tall warrior or great chief! Kiek in de Kök will, of course, argue that he is taller, but nobody can see that, because he is at a lower elevation, and comes up through the ground. Besides, Kök has a very tall spire, whereas I have nothing covering my top. But there’s a reason that I have no roof. I’ll say it again: as
a flag tower I’m not just a symbol of the city, but one for
the whole country.

Innumerable flags have been taken up and down on my mast. The blue, black, and white flag was first raised on December 12, 1918, and remained there until the summer of 1940. After that, there was a red flag with a star and a sickle, another red one with a swastika, and then for quite a while, a red flag with sea waves. It might just be a legend, but I’ve heard that the punk rockers who found shelter in the bastion tunnels at the foot of the hill used to steal those Estonian SSR flags and use them as bed sheets. Now the blue, black, and white has flown every day since February 24th, 1989. (By the way, the flags that fly here, which are made of weatherproof fabric, are numbered and archived after they have served their purpose. In a year, the flag is usually changed six times.)